November 12, 2012
More than 4.6 million Californians voted last Tuesday in favor of requiring food companies to put labels on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), but that wasn't enough to make the labeling rule into law.
Supporters, though, are spinning the loss to say it was enough to mobilize a movement.
"Today is not the end of our campaign to secure our fundamental right to know what’s in our food," stated an email from the Proposition 37 campaign to supporters. "It is a strong beginning."
Prop. 37, which would've required packaged foods that may contain GM ingredients to include a label identifying them as such, was a citizen ballot initiative that failed by a 6-point margin, according to the semi-final Secretary of State voting figures. (Within Monterey County, the measure prevailed with 55 percent of voters in favor.)
A massive coalition of food industry and agricultural groups formed in opposition to Prop. 37, out-fundraising the pro-labeling camp by about 20 to 1.
"Dirty money and dirty tactics may have won this skirmish, but they will not win the war," the pro campaign email stated.
Local campaign organizers will meet for a potluck in early December to begin planning next steps, and an active consumer outreach campaign may be next. Announcements from the pro-labeling, anti-pesticide groups Pesticide Action Network and Pesticide Watch Education Fund pointed to the fumigant methyl iodide as an example of what consumer pressure can accomplish. (Methyl iodide was pulled from the U.S. market earlier this year after a long battle between activists and manufacturer Arysta LifeScience.)
“We will continue to fight for food justice and transparency in our food labels by voting with our dollar and spreading the word to our community,” farmer Jamie Collins of Serendipity Farms in Carmel Valley said in a statement. "The fight is not over."